Something that drives me nuts on the internet, indeed on the ground too, is this idea that we can win hearts and minds by whacking people over the head with our hostility. Does that work in any given situation? I mean, perhaps it does for a small percentage of the population. I grant it is always possible that 2 or 3% of the population goes, “oh those people were really mean, I shall mend my ways immediately!” The other 98% of us however, are just going to lock our heels and double down on whatever foolishness we are pursuing. All you’ve done is pour fuel on the fire and confirmed someone’s biases.
In the context of faith, it is absolutely vital that our motivation and intent always be rooted in a desire for healing and reconciliation. That is the essence of who Christ is and what He did for us. Love calls us towards one another, towards relationship and connection. No one has to sacrifice their beliefs and values, but we sure do have to sacrifice our pride and this idea that other people are the enemy and we don’t want them in our tribe. Healing and reconciliation, always.
So, our epic failure to understand this is evident all over social media, blogs, and comment sections. The desire to just whack people over the head and declare our vast moral superiority often completely over rides our desire to create relationship, connection, and pave the path to healing and reconciliation. In fact, we often totally sabotage that.
It’s a bit like driving and having someone make rude hand gestures. Has anybody in the history of the world ever suddenly decided to be a more respectful driver because someone is cursing at them? I can tell you what I’ve learned from that. I’ve learned how to stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. I’ve learned how to patiently wait for the light to change, again. I’ve learned how to smile sweetly, grant every other car ahead of me the right away, while all those behind me grow cobwebs and wait for my birthday.
Let me tell you, these things actually become fun and I always leave early just in case I wish to indulge myself.
I am a total push over for some grace, however. It’s almost pathological and it often drives my husband nuts. For the most part drivers are kind to me, especially men. They will wave me through an intersection first, they will smile and wait patiently while I park, and it always makes me laugh, because I know it costs them something, I can see the sacrifice being made there. It drives my husband nuts because heck, if you’re nice to me, I suddenly become interested in pleasing you.
My husband is one of those bold, blustery, guy-types, so he has trouble wrapping his head around the idea of grace especially in driving situations. I’ve seen him be very gracious and patient while driving, but I’ve also seen the forced smile and the beads of sweat, while he wrestles with his more uh, natural instincts.
Grace, love, patience, motivated by a desire for reconciliation and healing, and I suddenly become interested in pleasing you. Did you just pour kind words over me? Well shoot, I’ll be happy to go 65 in a 20, if it pleases you.